You might feel a little uncomfortable because the commercial bar prep lectures are over and although you have a study schedule, you are not sure about following it exactly as given. This is a good thing because it means you have a sense of what you need to do to prepare. It means you don’t need to rely on commercial bar prep for every little detail. Use the commercial bar prep schedule as a base and adapt to what works best for you based on your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you scored above average on the practice MBE, you probably don’t have to spend as much time on MBE prep. In general, I recommend covering 2-4 two subjects a day and for each subject:
- Review notes;
- How you review is up to you. There is no one right way to do it.
- Work through practice essays and MBEs.
- Review your responses, modify as needed.
- Compare essay responses to released responses and reconcile difference, figure out why you missed an MBE question.
Whether you study 2, 3, or 4 subjects a day is up to you. How much time to spend per subject and per component depends on your comfort-level and how you like to learn.
Keep studying and practicing and working your plan. While you should take note of your failures, you should also recognize your successes. This is what helps you stay in control and move forward.
Choosing the “Best” Commercial Bar Prep Course
The bar exam is the final hurdle to becoming a lawyer. It’s not a time to take chances so you do need to purchase a commercial bar prep course. There are several reputable companies that all want your business, so how do you pick the “best” one? A few things to look out for:
- Pass Rate: Not as important as you think. Companies post their pass rate in big numbers but they’ll also include an asterisk. Take a look at that information because it usually says something like “pass rate for examinees who completed X% of the course material.”
- Guarantee: Again, not as important as you think. That guarantee is not absolute. Look for the fine print that qualifies the guarantee. It usually requires you to complete a certain percentage of the course, minimum number of practice questions, essays, etc.
- Bells & Whistles: “We’ve been around the longest.” We’ve got the most cutting edge technology.” “We provide the most flexibility.” This is called advertising and it is designed to promote and sell the particular product. Look beyond the commercial and evaluate the actual product.
Based on my experience, I haven’t seen a correlation or connection between passing the bar and any one particular commercial prep course. The connection I have seen is people who work hard and work smart pass the bar exam.
Don’t let a salesperson tell you what you need or that their company is the best.You have to decide what is best for you. A salesperson doesn’t know your academic foundation, learning style, or your lifestyle. You do. If you are unsure of what is the best option for you, find an objective person to help you evaluate the pros and cons of each company.
The bottom line is that you need to purchase a reputable commercial bar prep course but don’t expect to get a shortcut or secret formula to passing the bar. Reputable commercial bar prep courses provide comprehensive material, a detailed study schedule, opportunities for feedback, and multiple ways to learn and practice. Make the commitment and do the work: 10-weeks, full-time. Use the commercial bar prep company and learn the material, understand how it will be tested, and practice the skills.